Defining Slow Fashion.
In my previous post, I explained the process of garment making and grazed on what slow fashion was. Today I'll be breaking down what slow fashion is from my perspective. Slow fashion is composed of two large umbrellas: ethics and sustainability.
Ethically made clothing focuses on the people who contribute to the process of making garments. Clothing made ethically can entail various meanings and details. Here is a list of what I have seen brands share as to why their company is ethical.
- Workers are paid a fair wage. This means workers are being paid minimum wage or above. I have also encountered the term 'living wage' which is an amount above minimum wage that allows workers to live comfortably.
- The work environment is safe. Often time places such as dye or wash houses use chemicals that are detrimental to the health of workers. Natural dyes made from vegetables are an alternative to harsh chemicals used traditionally.
- Workers receive paid time off.
- Workers receive worker's compensation. Physical work such as sewing can lead to muscle injuries. For businesses, workers compensation is costly and therefore, not always offered.
- Workers are satisfied. A slower production schedule allows workers to take time to do their work accurately removing the pressure of constantly being pushed to work faster.
The sustainability aspect of a brand focuses on the durability of a garment through time. I created another list to break down the different parts that contribute to a lasting garment.
- Quality. A garment will last longer when it is stitched together a certain way. This is something new I learned from taking my sewing class. In sewing, there are different number of stitches per inch. The higher the number of stitches per inch, the longer a garment will last, which makes sense because it is more difficult to rip out 10 small stitches within an inch compared to 5 large stitches within the same length (from experience). Also, the higher the number of stitches per inch, the longer it takes to sew. When I learned about this, I became more aware of the differentiating factors of slow and fast fashion. This is also a good way to tell whether a garment will last or not.
- Design. When garments are designed to last, they aren't about the latest trend but instead, have a timeless style.
- Eco-conscious. This can be taken in several ways. Zero waste is something that is always good to strive for even though in reality it is not always possible. Cutting fabric to maximize the amount of garments that will be produced, maximizing the amount of paper used when creating patterns or designs, and using reusing bags for packaging are great ways to decrease waste. Another idea would be to purchase fabrics and materials locally as to lower the carbon footprint in modes of delivery.
-Fabric. I feel that there is a wealth of information to be shared about fabrics which is why I will be going more in depth about it in the following Slow Series next Wednesday.
To sum this up, it is not to say that all companies that claim they are ethical or sustainable comply with all these points. I applaud any company striving towards even 1 of these points because it is already taking a large step away from fast fashion. I hope this information was insightful and helped build your knowledge on slow fashion. I am still learning and would love to hear any of your thoughts/comments!
TALES OF ANYDAY'S STORY: Sintija is the founder of Tales of Anyday which offers beautiful sustainable and ethical women's wear. She is originally from Riga, Latvia but is now based in Copenhagen, Denmark. She has a masters in Sustainability in Fashion and dedicates her work to sustainability through production, materials, and design. Sintija believes that design can be sustainable when it is timeless and made of high quality fabric and construction. In making her clothes, she believes that production methods should be under fair working conditions. She also designs and develops environmentally friendly textiles. She tends to work with fabrics that are natural such as linen, organic cotton, and lyocell. I love that her pieces are made with high quality fabric and construction and that her mission is focused on sustainability.